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Volume 29 Issue 6
Nov 2018
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Jonny Wu, John Suppe. Proto-South China Sea Plate Tectonics Using Subducted Slab Constraints from Tomography. Journal of Earth Science, 2018, 29(6): 1304-1318. doi: 10.1007/s12583-017-0813-x
Citation: Jonny Wu, John Suppe. Proto-South China Sea Plate Tectonics Using Subducted Slab Constraints from Tomography. Journal of Earth Science, 2018, 29(6): 1304-1318. doi: 10.1007/s12583-017-0813-x

Proto-South China Sea Plate Tectonics Using Subducted Slab Constraints from Tomography

doi: 10.1007/s12583-017-0813-x
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  • Corresponding author: Jonny Wu
  • Received Date: 21 Apr 2017
  • Accepted Date: 15 Jul 2017
  • Publish Date: 01 Dec 2018
  • The past size and location of the hypothesized proto-South China Sea vanished ocean basin has important plate-tectonic implications for Southeast Asia since the Mesozoic. Here we present new details on proto-South China Sea paleogeography using mapped and unfolded slabs from tomogra-phy. Mapped slabs included:the Eurasia-South China Sea slab subducting at the Manila trench; the northern Philippine Sea Plate slab subducting at the Ryukyu trench; and, a swath of detached, sub-horizontal, slab-like tomographic anomalies directly under the South China Sea at 450 to 700 km depths that we show is subducted 'northern proto-South China Sea' lithosphere. Slab unfolding revealed that the South China Sea lay directly above the 'northern Proto-South China Sea' with both extending 400 to 500 km to the east of the present Manila trench prior to subduction. Our slab-based plate reconstruction indicated the proto-South China Sea was consumed by double-sided subduction, as follows:(1) The 'northern proto-South China Sea' subducted in the Oligo-Miocene under the Dangerous Grounds and southward expanding South China Sea by in-place 'self subduction' similar to the western Mediterranean basins; (2) limited southward subduction of the proto-South China Sea under Borneo occurred pre-Oligocene, represented by the 800-900 km deep 'southern proto-South China Sea' slab.


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